Five things about Holy Week in Guatemala

5 things about Semana Santa | GuatexplorerSo, Holy Week is here. I'm not an expert about religious meaning and foundations of the Easter holiday. But I very well know how it is to be in Guatemala during those festivities. This year I'm a prepper this year. Let's see those five things I had noticed here.

 1. Traffic...

The first thing that might bother you is – a traffic. In some moments it becomes horrible, so horrible that you regret your decision to go out of the bed that morning. But, let's be precise here: Easter holidays or Semana Santa in Guatemala last from Wednesday until the Easter Day on Sunday. So, to keep calm and not to raise your cholesterol, the best thing is not to go out of your house on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning and definitely not on Sunday afternoon. Unless you are situated in some very remote area.

2. ...and how to avoid it

The second thing that might bother you is how to organise your Semana Santa without participating in an annual meeting of slow car drivers? The advice here is never a 100 % guarantee that you'll pass good, but the general opinion is to avoid mentioned days to travel or to travel extremely early. Or extremely late. There are many schools of thinking in this matter, one of them being nihilists that say – stay home, for God's sake!

3. Processions

Processions are, as defined by the Wikipedia, „an organised body of people walking in a formal or ceremonial manner“. Forget it. In Guatemala a procession is „a confusingly organized body of people and spectators mixed, walking as they possibly can or obstructing any possibility of walking, jamming the traffic in a greater part of the town and giving no fucks about displaying personal and private religious feelings while blocking the public roads and bringing the life to a standstill while some pickpocketing simultaneously happens in the crowd“. I nailed it. In any case, the law of the Universe says that somewhere, sometime, you'll run into the procession. Most likely very close to your destination.

4. Shooting

The fourth thing that you'll not notice only if you're Helen Keller, is rampant shooting. Those guys are really trigger happy. They fire mortars that explode some 50-60 feet above the crowd, they throw firecrackers everywhere, all kinds of explosions make them very happy. And obviously closer to God. Only the greatest theologians could explain that mystical connection between very loud sounds and the fact that they nailed Jesus to a cross, while he later escaped in a great resurrection gig.

5. Aftermath

You have to be prepared that after the Semana Santa they will ask you where have you been, where did you spend this fabulous holiday. Answer „at home“ brings a sorrow on the faces. They would really pity your poor soul that spent this glamorous holiday in underwear holding a remote control, internet surfing, playing video games, eating and drinking when you are hungry or thirsty, doing what you really like and calling it a relaxation. Meanwhile they crowded the traffic jams while being fried and boiled in their cars, quarrelled about reservations, fought to have good position on the swimming pool or parking, solved their kids viral infections/injuries/rage outbursts, mind their luggage while being pickpocketed or even robbed, planned their dances and menus and in general had a great time. Makes you wanna go next time...


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